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    The Klausenberger
    Rebbe lost his wife and
    eleven children in the

    Holocaust. He sur-
    vived and subsequently

    gathered a small com-
    munity of followers

    who were also survivors; from this small

    group, he eventually rebuilt the whole com-
    munity. Rabbi Riskin describes a visit to the

    Beis Medrash of the Klausenberger Rebbe in
    the summer of 1952 when he was just 12
    years old:

    Then came the Torah reading. In accor-
    dance with the custom, the Torah reader be-
    gan to chant the Warnings in a whisper. And

    unexpectedly, almost inaudibly but unmis-
    takably, the Yiddish word “hecher – louder,”

    came from the direction of the the lectern

    upon which the rebbe was leaning at the east-
    ern wall of the synagogue.

    The Torah reader stopped reading for a few
    moments; the congregants

    looked up from their Chumashim in ques-
    tioning and even mildly shocked silence.

    Could they have heard their rebbe correctly?
    Was he ordering the Torah reader to go
    against time-honored custom and chant the

    tochacha out loud? The Torah reader contin-
    ued to read in a whisper, apparently conclud-
    ing that he had not heard what he thought he

    heard. And then the rebbe banged on his lec-
    tern, turned to face the stunned congregation

    and cried out in Yiddish, with a pained ex-
    pression on his face and fire blazing in his

    eyes: “I said louder! Read these verses out
    loud! We have nothing to fear, we’ve already
    experienced the curses. Let the Master of the
    Universe hear them. Let Him know that the
    curses have already befallen us, and let Him

    know that it’s time for Him to send the bless-
    ings!” The rebbe turned back to the wall, and

    the Torah reader continued slowly chanting
    the cantillation out loud. I was trembling,
    with tears cruising down my cheeks, my
    body bathed in sweat.

    I could hardly concentrate on the conclu-
    sion of the Torah reading. “It’s time for Him

    to send the blessings!” After the Additional
    Service ended, the rebbe rose to speak. His
    words were again short and to the point, but

    this time his eyes were warm with love leav-
    ing an indelible expression on my mind and

    soul. “My beloved brothers and sisters,” he
    said, “Pack up your belongings. We must
    make one more move – hopefully the last
    one. G-d promises that the blessings which
    must follow the curses will now come. They

    will come – but not from America. The bless-
    ings will only come from Israel. It is time for

    us to go home.” And so Kiryat Sanz – Klau-
    senberg was established in Netanya where

    the rebbe built a Torah Center as well as the
    Laniado Medical Center.
    The tochecha describes the result of siluk

    haShechina, when G-d removes and with-
    draws His countenance and providence. The

    results are devastating. The Rebbe described

    living through the tochecha, but it wasn’t just
    the Holocaust which was the fulfillment of

    the tochecha. In many ways, the Jewish con-
    dition during the last 2,000 years, including

    pogroms, crusades, the Inquisition, and

    countless expulsions, were all the embodi-
    ment of this harsh and devastating descrip-

    In the middle of the tochecha, the Torah
    וַ ִהֲש ִ֥ ׁמ ֹּת ִ֖ י אֲנ ֶ י- א ָ ת־הָ֑אֶר ָ ֽ ץ וְש ָ ׁמְ מ֤ ּו -ע ֶל֙ ָ֙ יה
    ֽא ֹ ֵ יְב ֶ יכ ַ ֔ ם -ה ִ֖ יֹּשְ ׁב ָֽ ים בּּה

    I will make the land desolate, and your ene-
    mies who dwell in it will be desolate upon it.

    Chazal see a silver lining, a message of hope
    within even this harsh promise. The Sifra
    writes that when we are exiled from our land
    and it is occupied by others, it will remain
    desolate and they will not succeed in making

    it bloom. It is astounding to see how accu-
    rate this promise of our Parsha has been.

    Over the last two millennia, Eretz Yisroel
    was in a virtual state of ruin. The Crusaders,
    the Mamelukes, the Ottomans, the Turks, the
    Arabs, and the British all tried to settle the
    Land and make it blossom. Some made more
    progress than others, but all failed to make it
    truly flourish.
    In the mid 1800’s, Mark Twain traveled the

    world and wrote a book recording his im-
    pressions and experiences called “The Inno-
    cents Abroad.” His experience in then-Pales-
    tine stands in stark contrast to the vision we

    have when we think of traveling around Isra-
    el. Twain writes:

    Of all the lands there are for dismal scenery,
    I think Palestine must be the prince. The hills
    are barren, they are dull of color, they are

    un-picturesque in shape. The valleys are un-
    sightly deserts fringed with a feeble vegeta-
    tion… It is a hopeless, dreary, heartbroken

    land…Palestine sits in sackcloth and ashes.
    Over it broods the spell of a curse that has
    withered its fields and fettered its energies.
    Renowned Jerusalem itself, the stateliest
    name in history, has lost all its grandeur, and
    is become a pauper village.

    Six hundred years before Twain, in his com-
    mentary on our Parsha, the Ramban writes:

    And your enemies will be desolate upon it is

    a good tiding. It proclaims in every genera-
    tion that our land does not accept or enemies.

    This is a great proof and promise for us, for
    you will not find in the entire world another

    land that is so good and spacious and was al-
    ways inhabited but is now in such a state of

    ruin. Ever since we left it, it has not accepted
    any other nation; and they all try to settle it,
    but are unsuccessful.
    Indeed, the Gemara (Sanhedrin 98a) quotes
    Rebbe Abba who teaches – ein lecha keitz
    megulah mi’zeh, you have no more explicit
    manifestation of the end of days than when

    produce will grow in abundance in Eretz Yis-
    rael; it is an indication that the Moshiach will

    be coming soon.
    R’ Yoel Bin Nun, the great Tanach teacher

    in Israel today, was a member of the

    now-famous 55th brigade of paratroop-
    ers who liberated Yerushalayim. When

    his commander, a shomer ha’tzair
    ha’kibbutznik, asked him how he felt
    after taking Har Ha’Bayis, he responded

    “Alpaim shnot galut nigmeru, two thou-
    sand years of exile are now over.”

    If, for the Klausenberger Rebbe, the
    Holocaust represents the fulfillment of
    the tochecha, the consequences of siluk

    haShechina, Divine withdrawal and hid-
    denness, then 1967, the miracle of the

    Six-Day War, and the reunification of
    Yerushalayim represents nothing short of

    genuine giluy haShechina, the intense pres-
    ence and the powerful revelation of the hand

    of the Almighty.
    Those of us with no memory of May 1967
    and earlier don’t know what it means to feel
    truly fragile and vulnerable as a people.
    Those of youwho do remember will confirm
    that just over 20 years after losing 6 million
    of our people there was a collective panic
    and sense of urgency that there was going to
    be another Holocaust. NCAA coach Bruce
    Pearl recently described on Behind the Bima
    how his grandfather, a secular American Jew,
    could not go to sleep at night and was glued
    to the TV, saying, “I’m afraid to go to sleep
    and wake up and find out there is no more
    Rav Yehuda Amital recounted that before

    the Six-Day War there were American Jew-
    ish leaders who pleaded with the Israeli gov-
    ernment to evacuate the children from Israel,

    since the annihilation of Israel was expected.
    The Chief Rabbinate of Israel had designated
    public parks as burial sites and almost
    100,000 graves had been dug in preparation
    for casualties.
    Instead of a massacre, a miracle occurred.
    On June 5, Israel launched a preemptive
    strike. In a single day, it destroyed almost the
    entire Egyptian air force. Jordan and Syria

    both declared war. In six days, Israel defeat-
    ed all three armies, each larger than the size

    of its own. The Israelis retook Sinai, captured
    the old city of Jerusalem and Yehuda and the
    Shomron and the Golan Heights.
    This sweeping military victory against all
    odds continues to leave experts confounded.
    Rav Berel Wein tells the story of a cadet at
    West Point who asked why the Six-Day War
    was not part of the curriculum. The
    high-ranking teacher silenced the questioner
    and demanded he speak to him following the
    class. The soldier approached the general
    and again wondered why Israel’s victory in
    the Six-Day War wasn’t studied. The teacher
    explained that the Six-Day war is not studied
    because at West Point they study strategy and
    tactics, not miracles.
    Yossi Klein HaLevi tells the powerful story
    of his father who was from a very religious,
    chassidishe family and gave up on G-d and
    on religion after surviving the Holocaust.
    Even after the founding of the State of Israel,

    he was still so traumatized from his devastat-
    ing loss he couldn’t find G-d. In June 1967,

    however, after witnessing with the world the

    miracle of Israel not only surviving but thriv-
    ing, he took his family to Israel and went di-
    rectly to the Kotel. After seeing the hand of

    G-d he was ready to forgive Him and to have

    a relationship once again. They moved to Is-
    rael and his father came back to religion.

    HaLevi explains that 1967 turned Israel
    from a secular to a sacred landscape. Yes, in
    1948 we got a country, but we had no holy
    sites. After the miracle of 1967, overnight,
    we returned not only to the Kotel and Har
    HaBayis, but to our Mama Rochel Imeinu, to

    Chevron and Ma’aras Ha’Machpeila, to Tze-
    fat, and to Teveria.

    Following the Six-Day War, Jews around

    the world felt they were seven feet tall, confi-
    dent, proud, almost invincible. Everyone

    wanted a piece of this special nation, a con-
    nection to the Jewish people. And the Jewish

    people felt a giluy haShechina, revelation of
    G-d Himself.
    Every single time I visit Israel I find a way
    to spend a few minutes sitting in one of the
    squares in the Old City of Yerushalayim. I
    simply watch and listen. I watch the people
    walking through and I listen to the sounds of
    the children playing and I pinch myself that

    we merit to live in the generation that is liter-
    ally seeing the fulfillment of prophecy.

    In fact, in one of the squares the words of
    Zecharia Ha’Navi areetched in the stones:
    ֤-ע ֹד יֵ ֽשְׁבּו֙ זְקֵנִ֣ ֖ ים- ּוזְקֵנ֔ ֹות בִּרְ ח ֹבֹות ירוׁשלם
    וְאִ֧ ֛ יׁש מִשְׁעַנְּת ֖ ֹו בְּיָד ֥ ֹו -מֵר ֹב יָמִ ֽים׃
    – ֤ ּורְ ח ֹב ֣ ֹות הָעִיר-֙ יִמָּלְא֔ ּו יְלָדִ֖ ֑ ים -וִ ֽילָדֹות מְשַׂחֲקִ֖ ים
    בִּרְ ח ֹֽב ֹתֶ ֽיהָ
    “Thus said the Hashem: There shall yet be

    old men and women in the squares of Jerusa-
    lem, each with staff in hand because of their

    great age. And the squares of the city shall be
    crowded with boys and girls playing in the

    This week when we mark Yom Yerushalay-
    im, that summer of Divine revelation and

    G-d’s miracles, we must awaken ourselves
    with a sense of hallel v’hodaah, profound
    gratitude and boundless appreciation. We
    must not stop feeling we experienced Yad
    Hashem, the guiding hand of G-d.
    V’ha’aretz ezkor – We are in a generation
    that has witnessed G-d remembering His
    people and His land. Will you remember